God is with you. If there ever was a doubt in your mind about that, then Christmas ought to remove that doubt.
Why is this true? The proof that God is with you is in the Christmas historical reality that Jesus Christ, born of the Virgin Mary, is “Immanuel — God with us.”
The Old Testament lesson and the Gospel lesson for the Fourth Sunday in Advent proclaim this truth. These texts describes the profound event of the Annunciation, which took place in the city of Nazareth.
We have all seen the many paintings of this happening. The angel Gabriel came into the house to proclaim to the virgin Mary a miraculous reality about to take place.
In 2 Samuel 7:16, the Lord foretold this event in speaking through the prophet Nathan. To the king David, he said, “And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever.”
This was fulfilled in Luke 1:30-38. The angel Gabriel said to the virgin Mary, “’Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. and behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.’
“And Mary said to the angel, ‘How will this be, since I am a virgin?’ and the angel answered her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy — the Son of God. and behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.’ and Mary said, ‘Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.’ and the angel departed from her.”
The beloved Christmas carols proclaim this truth. We sing these carols during the Advent and Christmas seasons. We hear these same carols over the P.A. system in the shopping malls and stores. These carols are on our vinyl records and cds, and also streaming online in our homes.
One Christmas carol includes these words: “The angel Gabriel from heaven came, with wings as drifted snow, with eyes as flame: ‘All hail to thee, O lowly maiden Mary, Most highly favored lady. Gloria!’ Of her, Emmanuel, the Christ was born, in Bethlehem all on a Christmas morn, and Christian folk throughout the world will ever say: ‘Most highly favored lady. Gloria!’”
How does the event of the Annunciation affect you? A person either believes that Jesus is God in human flesh (called the “Incarnation”) or a person does not believe it.
But this fact remains: The Incarnation is an objective reality in time and space and history, whether or not anyone believes it.
Herein lies the joy of Christmas. Even when we doubted or wondered whether God was with us, God did come to be with us in the lowly manger at Bethlehem. Mary and Joseph, along with the shepherds and angels, bear witness to us.
This Christian proclamation, since the first century A.D., has transformed human existence and gives meaning to the world’s history. If you want to re-familiarize yourself with this joyous and wondrous Christmas event, plan to pick up the Bible and reread Luke 1 and 2 and John 1.
God can remove our doubts and give us peace and joy in Immanuel. Have a wonderful and joyful Twelve Days of Christmas with your family and friends. Jesus Christ is indeed, God with us.